5 Things We Learned From the 2011 Network Upfronts

Rumors of the Traditional Multiple-camera Sitcom’s Demise have been Greatly Exaggerated
Despite the fact that many studio executives already took it upon themselves to proclaim the death of the traditional multi-camera sitcom a few seasons back, a funny thing happened on the way to the funeral: THE BIG BANG THEORY broke out big. And, since the proverbial powers that be know a “license to print money” when they see one, there are no fewer than 6 attempts to find the next FRIENDS and or SEINFELD on the 2011/12 sked, including 2 BROKE GIRLS (CBS), LAST MAND STANDING (ABC), MAN UP (ABC), HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN (CBS), WORK IT (ABC) and WHITNEY (CBS)

With Primetime real estate at a premium, Fridays this fall have come back into play in a big way. Which means, viewers can say “goodbye” to the dreaded night of nothing to watch, and “hello” to a handful of cult/soon-to-be cult favorites including the CW one-two butt-kicking combo of NIKITA and SUPERNATURAL, Fox’s FRINGE, the final 13 episodes of CHUCK, NBC’s GRIMM, and CBS’ A GIFTED MAN. Thanks goodness it’s Friday indeed.

Men are from Mars
Whether they’re parenting badly (LAST MAND STANDING, SUBURGATORY, UP ALL NIGHT to name a few) or simply behaving so (WORK IT, HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN, THE PLAYBOY CLUB, among others), there was one very clear and consistent message being sent by all four major networks during last week’s Upfront: Men are morons.

The Bigger Name the Better
What’s the only thing Networks and Studios appreciate more than being able to craft a series around an already popular book, film, and/or television property? Having the big name to go along with it. Which is why, those shows not fortunate enough to have the already built-in audience awareness that comes with the likes of ABC’s CHARLIE’S ANGELS or the CW’s SECRET CIRCLE are littered with familiar faces both in front (Tim Allen, Kiefer Sutherland, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Rachel Bilson, Christina Applegate, James Van Der Beek, Poppy Montgomery, Zooey Deschanel, Christina Ricci, Emily Van Camp, Ashley Judd and Kerry Washington) and behind (Steven Spielberg, Shonda Rhimes, Kevin Williamson, Josh Schwartz and Chuck Lorre) the camera. Not, that there’s anything wrong with that.

Reality TV is Here to Stay
While it probably comes as little surprise that reality TV isn’t going anywhere, what might come as somewhat of one is that after much hemming and hawing, we’re actually okay with that. Particularly when each Network’s respective reality TV juggernaut continues to attract both the necessary eyeballs and advertising dollars needed to help fund and promote the hundreds of millions of dollars that go into developing the scripted dramas and comedies that make up one of the most exciting Fall Lineups we’ve seen in some time.

For all the latest TV news and reviews

  • I am reasonably hopeful for this fall season.
    The last one went horribly though.

  • Kelly

    Ditto, and agreed.